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AutoCAD 2021 vs. Previous Releases

AutoCAD has a flexible subscription model, with new features available with each release and product update. If you have a perpetual license of AutoCAD 2016 or earlier, here’s what’s changed in AutoCAD 2017, AutoCAD 2018, AutoCAD 2019, AutoCAD 2020, and AutoCAD 2021.

What’s included in AutoCAD 2021

  • Access to industry-specific toolsets, including:

Architecture
Electrical
Map 3D
Mechanical design
MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing)
Plant 3D, including P&ID functionality
Raster Design

  • AutoCAD web app: View, create, and edit AutoCAD drawings from any computer with no software install required.*
  • AutoCAD mobile app: View, create, and edit AutoCAD drawings via iOS and Android devices.
  • Integrated workflows: Work smoothly across desktop, web, and mobile devices.*
  • Cloud storage connectivity: Access any DWG file in AutoCAD with Autodesk’s cloud, as well as with leading cloud storage providers.

Top new features added since 2016

  • Drawing history: See changes made to your drawing over time.
  • Xref compare: Compare two versions of an external Xref and implement changes without leaving your current drawing.
  • Blocks palette: Insert blocks efficiently from the libraries tab on desktop or in the AutoCAD web app.
  • Quick measure: Quickly display all nearby measurements including areas and perimeters in a drawing by hovering your mouse.
  • Trim and extend (enhanced): The default Quick mode now automatically selects all potential boundaries.
  • Purge (redesigned): Remove multiple unneeded objects with easy selection and object preview.
  • DWG™ compare: Compare two versions of a drawing or Xref without leaving your current window.
  • Attach/extract point cloud data: Attach point cloud files acquired by 3D laser scanners or other technologies.
  • PDF import: Import geometry (SHX font files, fills, raster images, and TrueType text) into a drawing from a PDF.
  • AutoCAD anytime, anywhere: Access AutoCAD from your desktop, web, and mobile devices.*
  • Shared views: Publish design views of your drawing in a web browser for viewing and commenting.*
  • Save to web and mobile: Save drawings and their associated Xrefs from your desktop to view and edit in the AutoCAD web and mobile apps.
  • New views and viewports: Easily add saved views to your layouts.
  • High-resolution monitor support: View your designs on 4K- and higher-resolution displays.
  • Off-screen selection: Selected objects stay in the selection set, even if you pan or zoom off screen.
  • New feature highlighting: Quickly see what’s new in each release.
  • Autodesk desktop app: Get alerts and install software updates without disrupting your workflow. View tutorials about new features.

Improvements since 2016

  • Save in half a second: Shave one second off each save on average
  • Speedy install time: Up to 50% faster for solid state hard drives
  • New dark theme: Modern blue aesthetic with contrast and sharpness improvements
  • User interface: Flat-design icons and intuitive dialog boxes and toolbars
  • 2D graphics: Better stability, fidelity, and performance
  • 3D navigation performance: Up to 10x faster
  • Save, move/copy performance boost with new 2018.dwg file format
  • Autodesk App Store and 600+ exchange apps
  • The TrustedDWG™ file format

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